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BLOG: Ring in the New Year with Kindness

By Stephen Gaede

It’s the start of a New Year, and time to make New Year’s Resolutions.  What’s yours?  If you said to lose weight, get organized, or save money, then your resolution is in the top 10 list of the most popular resolutions according to the University of Scranton:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Getting Organized
  3. Spend Less, Save More
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  5. Staying Fit and Healthy
  6. Learn Something Exciting
  7. Quit Smoking
  8. Help Others in Their Dreams
  9. Fall in Love
  10. Spend More Time with Family

Of all the resolutions, number 8 (helping others with their dreams) has the most potential to improve the lives of others, shifting our focus away from ourselves and towards other people.

What if everyone, including kids, made a resolution to be nice via intentional acts of kindness?  A recent study highlighted by NPR seems to indicate that kids who perform acts of kindness for others not only became more accepting, but also more popular amongst their peers. This experiment backs up similar experiments in adults which have shown that being actively kind increases happiness, and happier people then become more likely to help others.

The children in the study didn’t do anything extraordinary – just three acts of kindness a week, such as hugging their mom, sharing their lunch, or vacuuming the floor.  As a result, at the end of the study they named more classmates as children they’d like to spend time with.

Need some inspiration for how to get started with some random acts of kindness?  These ideas from Good Housekeeping are unique and fun.  So get out there and spread what everyone seems to wish during this holiday season – joy to the world and peace on earth.

Stephen Gaede sits on the Peace Study Center’s Board of Directors. His expertise lies in education, marketing, and technology and he brings all three skills to the Peace Center Board.  He worked for 10 years in the Marketing and Communications Department of Johns Hopkins Medicine managing the web presence for the institution.  Now he works at Laureate Education doing web strategy, analytics, and site optimization. Stephen builds websites in his free time (including this one) and enjoys the benefits of city life – such as biking to work and cheering for the Orioles and Ravens.  Stephen earned his B.S. in Television, Radio, Film Production from Syracuse University and a M.S. in Information Systems from Johns Hopkins University.

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